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Machining graphite and carbon

Cutting Graphite (or carbon) is different from cutting Metals. Metal exerts plastic deformation when a tool edge cuts it producing a curl or chips.
When a graphite is machined small powder-like particles separate from the workpiece as a result of brittle fracture caused by the stress produced by the cutting tool edge.
Cutting graphite operation consumes much less energy and generates much less heat than in cutting metals.

  • General guidelines for machining graphite and carbon
  • Milling graphite and carbon
  • Turning graphite and carbon
  • Drilling graphite and carbon
  • Sawing graphite and carbon
  • Grinding graphite and carbon
  • Surface finishing graphite and carbon

General guidelines for machining graphite and carbon

  • Graphite is abrasive material causing fast wear of metallic uncoated cutting tools. Only diamond (preferable) or carbide tools may be used for cutting graphite.
  • Graphite and carbon are generally machined dry without using Cutting fluids (coolants). If coolants are used in some machining operations (grinding, honing, polishing) the workpiece should be dried at 300-400°F (150-200°C) to remove liquids absorbed by the material.
  • Graphite as compared to metals is machined at higher cutting speed, feed speed and depth of cut;
  • Chipping (breakage) of the material in the exit of a cutting pass may be avoided by limiting the depth of cut to a half of the insert length;
  • Lowering feed rate in the exit of a pass also prevents chipping;
  • Chamfer at the end of the workpiece makes the tool entrance and exit easier and diminishes chipping;
  • Machining graphite and carbon produces dust with particles size in the range 0.0004”-0.005” (10-130μm). The dust mast be removed from the machining region by a dust extraction system providing a minimum air velocity of 6 ft/s (20 m/s).



Milling graphite and carbon

Milling graphite and carbon
Tools: with inserts of 1/64-1/32” (0.4-0.8 mm) nose radius, clearance angle at least 10°
ParameterValue in metric unitValue in US unit
General purpose
Cutting speed100-300m/min333-1000ft/min
Feed speed0.1mm/(tooth*revolution)0.004inch/(tooth*revolution)
Depth of cut5-10mm0.2-0.4inch
Finish
Cutting speed150-600m/min500-2000ft/min
Feed speed0.013-0.05mm/(tooth*revolution)0.0005-0.002inch/(tooth*revolution)
Depth of cut0.5-2mm0.02-0.08inch


Turning graphite and carbon

Square nose tools are not recommended since they increase chipping.

Turning graphite and carbon
Tools: with inserts of 1/64-1/32” (0.4-0.8 mm) nose radius, angle 20°
ParameterValue in metric unitValue in US unit
General purpose
Cutting speed100-300m/min333-1000ft/min
Feed speed0.13mm/(revolution)0.005inch/(revolution)
Depth of cut10-20mm0.4-0.8inch
Finish
Cutting speed200-600m/min666-2000ft/min
Feed speed0.025-0.076mm/(revolution)0.001-0.003inch/(revolution)
Depth of cut0.2-0.5mm0.008-0.02inch


Drilling graphite and carbon

Drilling graphite and carbon
Tools: point angle 70°-100°, clearance angle 10°-15°
ParameterValue in metric unitValue in US unit
Cutting speed60-900m/min200-3000ft/min
Feed speed
drill diam. 1/32-3/16” (1-5 mm)
0.025-0.1mm/rev.0.001-0.004in/rev.
Feed speed
drill diam. 3/16-1/4” (5-6 mm)
0.05-0.13mm/rev.0.002-0.005in/rev.
Feed speed
drill diam. 1/4-5/16” (6-8 mm)
0.05-0.15mm/rev.0.002-0.006in/rev.
Feed speed
drill diam. 5/16-3/8” (8-10 mm)
0.05-0.2mm/rev.0.002-0.008in/rev.
Feed speed
drill diam. 3/8-1/2” (10-12 mm)
0.05-0.25mm/rev.0.002-0.010in/rev.


Sawing graphite and carbon

Graphite is cut by band saws (5 teeth/inch) at speed 1000-2000 ft/min (300-600 m/min).
Carbon is cut by diamond cutting wheels at speed 170-200 ft/s (50-60 m/s).


Grinding graphite and carbon

Milling graphite and carbon
Tools: grinding wheel with the structure parameter between 6 to 9
ParameterValue in metric unitValue in US unit
General purpose (made by silicon carbide wheels of grit 20-46)
Cutting speed20-30m/s65-100ft/s
Feed speed300-600mm/min12-24inch/min
Depth of cut0.5-5mm0.02-0.2inch
Finish (made by electro-corundum wheels of grit 120-160)
Cutting speed20-30m/s65-100ft/s
Feed speed150-300mm/min6-12inch/min
Depth of cut0.05-0.3mm0.002-0.012inch


Surface finishing graphite and carbon

  • lapping.

Lapping is carried out by aluminum oxide/silicon carbide powder with grain size 12-16 μm.

  • Polishing.

Polishing is carried out by diamond/aluminum oxide powder with grain size 6-10 μm.

http://www.substech.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=machining_graphite_and_carbon by dmitri_kopeliovich

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